Friday, August 7, 2009

August, time for books and flooring

One of the big deal decisions I have made is to replace the grotty old wall to wall rug downstairs with a laminate flooring. I've done this before, in another home, so it's not a mystery. But this time is a bit different.

For one thing, it's expensive and I'm guarding every penny of HS's tiny savings to keep him at home for as long and as well as we can, so paying for private care once Medicare has run out, which it almost has, is a priority, as is paying for all the supplies that nobody covers. And then there's the mortgage. People tend to assume that if you're old you have a paid up mortgage. Nooooooo. Still years of obligations. And as long as he has any savings, he can't qualify for Medicaid, so it's a strategic headache, is what it is.

On the other hand, if you ever tried to operate a Hoyer lift with a helpless patient on a carpeted floor and experienced the physical stress of doing it, you will see why the manufacturers tell you it's not only not recommended, it's not safe, either.

So I bit the bullet and when the aide was with HS today, went over to get quotes and deets on measuring, how to logistically do this whole thing, in the one and only downstairs room we have outside the kitchen, while not exhausting HS with dust, moving, etc. etc.

I went to a place I dealt with before with knowledgeable people, who agreed that something MUST be changed, and it better be laminate rather than any form of carpeting, and said they'd just got through refitting a local hospital floor with laminate because they needed something better than tile for use with Hoyer lifts and wheeled hospital beds, both of which we have. The price stunned me briefly, but we simply have to do it.

And I tell myself, it's not like spending money, exactly, but rather reshaping it into real estate value, which is definitely true. Then I cheered up quite a bit on getting home and actually measuring the area and finding I'd wildly overestimated its size. I'd been remembering the footprint of the whole townhouse, rather than the area in question. Phew. And in view of our special situation, they let me bring home floor samples of colors to see at home and show HS, who is somewhat, um, resistant to the whole idea.

He's a true Scot, has been foretelling his own death for most of the 50 years I've known him, and he did it again -- asked if I could live with this floor, would I like it, because he wouldn't be around. Etc. etc. This is the guy whose aunt died last year at 93. So I kept a straight face, and assured him it would be beautiful, but that he would be around for a long time to enjoy it, too. I said I'm planning on your being here years and years, don't go ruining my plan. At which point his aide broke up completely and had to leave the room to laugh. She's very tactful.

So I show you three colors I picked, and I'm leaning now to one now to another, depending on where in the room they are. If you would like to weigh in, please do so, telling me right left or middle as to what you like. This is something like getting one of those tiny paint samples and holding it up to a wall to estimate how it looks....but it will probably be all done in the next couple of weeks, and we may live through it. This is the first day I've felt strong enough to tackle this on top of everything else, but it seems like a prudent move for any number of reasons.

What I have are a light cherry, a dark cherry, and a walnut. All our furniture is wildly mismatched kinds of wood, ranging from real antiques in rosewood and walnut, to cheapo laminated bookshelves in "walnut" and MDF with white that's not an issue. The bed is dark brown metal stuff, the hoyer lift sort of silvery metally stuff.

So that's the scary financial stuff.

On to books! beach and backyard and patio reading since it's August, and I can pretend to be on vacation.

Hugely recommended is The Mighty Queens of Freeville, by Amy Dickinson, who is kind of the new version of Ann Landers or someone of that nature, a problem solving columnist, but is also a totally terrific writer, much to my surprise, actually. She is very honest, quite dorky, and understands what she calls dorkitude almost as well as that woman who appears with a funny voice on This American Life, and gets all excited by trips to battlefields, and her name will come back to me as soon as I hit post, and perhaps a kind reader will tell me who I'm talking about. The one who played recorder on the air, very amateurishly and bravely, that one.

Anyway, AD understands about people who would rather jam on the recorder than be cool, and whose idea of fun is visiting historic markers and eating at diners. That kind of person. Very unglam. What a relief. Very touching stuff, too, where she talks about her family and her cat and her single mother years and her mom. Anyway, just read it, okay? you'll be glad. It's short, easy reading because so well written.

And I scored two brand new knitting books at the informal local version of Freecycle -- outside the dumpster! I think I know who put them there, a local knitting friend, and I've read and enjoyed them. They're essays about knitting and why it's good, with various anecdotes, and a few patterns, basically a nice read rather than a keepit book, so having had my nice read, I'll be happy to give these away to anyone who wants them. Here are the covers, so you can see what sort of thing I'm talking about. Perfectly clean new condition.

If you want one of the knitting books, please drop me an email at and be sure and give me a mailing address! and I will plow through the hundreds of requests and pick two at random, as Click and Clack say, and ship to the lucky winners....

Now I'm off to the farm to buy corn for tomorrow's birthday lunch for HS, and new potatoes and I think that's all that's needed, the rest of the doings already being in the house. The farm you saw in the pictures, in fact, the building where the flag is. There.


  1. Hobson's choice eh? I would go for the centre one in the pic. It looks lighter and in my experience doesn't show the dust as quickly as a dark wood. Not that I don't think you're a perfect housekeeper. Thanks for the book tips -- I'll try the Amy Dickinson one.

  2. I told you I'd think of that woman's name as soon as I hit post: Sarah Vowell, that's who she is. She is a very good writer, too, though a weird speaker.

  3. I like the one on the right. No rational reason, it just looks more like I'd want to be around it a lot. There you have it.


  4. I favor the middle color, as it will not only show less dust but will brighten the room. Bless your Scotsman, we'll hope it brightens his mood as well!

  5. I favor the warmth of the one on the right (the middlest in color). Regardless of your ultimate choice, I'm sure that once HP sees it in place and understands how much easier and safer it is for all of you he will love it, too. Seems to me he's just that sort of lovely man.

    I'm thinking that your Scotsman sounds just a tad like my stepdad, Baker, who has been ready to sign himself into assisted living (seriously) for the last 22 years! And that's in spite of the fact that he is able (and insists upon) doing complete and huge weekly lawn care himself rather than pay someone else to do it - or change the landscaping to something less demanding. Mom just laughs and credits his thriftyness and stubborness for pushing him to get the exercise he needs to stay OUT of a facility! ;-)

    Sounds like wonderful summer reading, indeed, Liz!

  6. I like the one on the right - it's so lovely and warm looking. Am reading your tapestry progress with great interest!

  7. I like the one on the right, but would probably choose the middle one because of the light colour. In the summer, the darker ones may appeal more, however, come winter and the longer darker hours, the middle shade would reflect what light there is from outside, and glow with the incandescent ones inside. I am all for light - good for the mindset.

    Am writing soon.

  8. What Annie said. I love the one on the right and would probably choose the one in the middle because of the light reflecting quality. I know firsthand how awful dark wood can be in the winter.


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